Severe weather patterns in recent years mean homeowners and business owners have experienced everything from record snowfalls and tornadoes to recurring storms with wind, hail and record amounts of rainfall - all leading to a record number of flooded homes and businesses.
Water claims under personal or business insurance contracts can be confusing and easily misunderstood, and standard insurance does not cover everything.
The most common water damage claims result from surface water, sewer backup, ice and snow melt or hydrostatic water pressure (explained in the video below.) Whether you have a personal or business claim, the cause of loss is first determined and then your coverage is reviewed.
Most insurance companies' standard personal and business policies exclude coverage for surface water that damages the property. You and your agent should be aware of whether or not your insured property is located in a designated flood zone. If so, you can purchase insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
The other causes of loss listed can be covered by purchasing endorsements to add coverage beyond what a standard policy includes. These endorsements may limit coverage to a specified dollar amount, but recovering even a portion of the damages could make a big difference to the financial health of your family or business.
Under a personal insurance policy, amendatory endorsements can provide limited coverage for sewer backup, overflow of drains and sumps and hydrostatic water pressure for limited amounts, commensurate with the amount of coverage you purchased on the base policy. Your independent agent can help you make the right choices for your individual needs.
Business owners can purchase endorsements to add coverage for exposures such as sewer backup, hydrostatic pressure and interior building damage from rain, sand or dust without damage to the roof or walls. Some endorsements adding coverage for water damage may include coverage for loss of business income and extra expense you incur as a result of a covered loss caused by water damage.
Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your independent agent.